PRAYER OFFERED IN FAITH
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
James 5:14-15 NLT
This is a passage that comes with a variety of opinions for its application to our present lives. There are Bible scholars who have chosen to interpret this passage as not applying to those who are physically ill but to those who are weary and tired. Others believe it includes both those who are ill and those who are weary or weak. The Greek word used by James is “asthenei” and it is used in the Gospels for physical maladies but is generally used in Acts and the Epistles to refer to a weak faith or a weak conscience. I believe because the word is used in the New Testament to refer to those who are suffering physical illness as well as those who are weary or weak James could be including both groups in this instruction. I think this passage could include people who are suffering of physical, emotional, or mental issues. James’ instruction is for the person to seek prayer from the elders of the church and to be anointed with oil. Those who hold to this passage applying only to those who are weak or weary believe this is an instruction to include prayer and medicine. Their thoughts are the “anointing with oil” was referring to rubbing oil on someone to refresh them. While I do believe in using both prayer and medicine, I don’t see this as James’s instruction here. He is talking about a spiritual act of prayer—personally if you are suffering and corporately with the elders if the personal prayer is not enough. The oil is a Biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit. When we anoint someone with oil, we are reminding them and ourselves the answer to our prayers is in the power and person of the Holy Spirit. It is not our words that bring the miracle of restoration and wholeness. It is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. I believe there is a Biblical invitation to seek help through inviting spiritual leaders to anoint us with oil and pray over us.
Holy Spirit, I want You working in my life. Show me if there are areas where I need to invite others to join in my prayers.
“Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying based on today’s reading.”